Weleda - a company inspired by anthroposophy
It all began with a hospital and a pharmaceutical laboratory – founded by a Dutch doctor, an Austrian philosopher and a chemist and pharmacist from Munich. Now it has become the world’s leading manufacturer of holistic, natural, organic cosmetics and pharmaceuticals for anthroposophic therapy. Our motto ‘in harmony with nature and the human being’ is much more than a catchphrase – it’s a genuine system of understanding which has applied since the founding of the company.
How it began
Around 1920 three intellectual and spiritual pioneers set about giving a specific form to new ideas which were abroad, as disparate threads of anthroposophical teaching and research activity. In 1921 Dr Ita Wegman (1876-1943) opened the Clinical and Therapeutic Institute in Arlesheim in Switzerland, a hospital using anthroposophical medicine for sick patients. Viennese-born chemist Oskar Schmiedel (1887-1959) had already worked alongside both Dr. Wegman and Rudolf Steiner since studying chemistry at Munich University, and indeed worked with Dr Wegman to produce the first mistletoe preparation for cancer treatment which is still in use today.
The first products of a revolutionary idea
1920 - 1923
These three pioneers developed the first pharmaceutical products using a concept that has formed Weleda's product philosophy to this day – medicine should provide crucial stimulus for the body's own healing powers. The revolutionary idea pre-empted what complementary medical research proves today: healing can indeed be brought about by holistically formulated pharmaceutical products that stimulate the body to heal itself.
In 1920, Steiner and Wegman founded the Futurum AG in Arlesheim, Switzerland and Der Kommende Tag AG in Stuttgart, Germany – a limited company for the development of economic and spiritual values. Both companies had chemical and pharmaceutical departments run by chemists, doctors and pharmacists. The aim of the companies was to secure financial resources for the running of the Freie Waldorfschule - also known als Steiner School - in Stuttgart and the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach, Switzerland in the premises of the Goetheanum – the architecturally-dramatic world centre for the anthroposophical movement and also the centre of the General Anthroposophical Society.